The impacts of global warming may force Nepal to move the Mount Everest base camp from its original position at the Khumbu glacier to a lower altitude.

The base camp is currently perched at an altitude of 5,364m atop the melting glacier. The authorities have had to finalise a new location at a lower altitude, according to Taranath Adhikar, the director-general of Nepal's tourism department.

The proposed location is situated 200–400 m lower than the current one. "We are now preparing for the relocation and we will soon begin consultation with all stakeholders," Adhikari said.

He added that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the impact of global warming on the base camp. The rapid melting of ice in the Himalayas has destabilised the glacier at base camp.

However, climate change is not the only factor that is causing the problem. The number of people visiting the base camp has also increased over the years, one of the factors contributing to the destabilisation process.

"It is basically about adapting to the changes we are seeing at the base camp and it has become essential for the sustainability of the mountaineering business itself," added Adhikari,

Some climbers have claimed that crevasses appeared suddenly at the camp while they were sleeping. The experts say that melt-water has destabilised the glacier, leading to rapid thinning of the glacier.

A research by Leeds University found that the area close to the base camp was thinning at a rate of 1 metre per year.

"We surprisingly see crevasses appearing overnight at places where we sleep," Colonel Kishor Adhikari of the Nepali army, who had stayed at base camp, told the BBC.

"In the morning, many of us have this chilling experience that we could have fallen into them in the night. Cracks on the ground develop so often, it is quite risky," he added.

According to Nepali authorities, the move may happen by 2024. But before that, they will hold extensive consultation sessions with all stakeholders, including the local communities.

"We have assessed the technical and environmental aspects of the base camp, but before we relocate it, we will have to discuss this with local communities, considering other aspects like their culture," added Adhikari.

Everest Base Camp
Climbers at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal [File photo] Reuters